Sunday, December 06, 2015

TrainingPeaks University

This past week I attended TrainingPeaks University in Boulder, Colorado. The first two days were the TrainingPeaks 101 course, and the final day was a brand new course called TrainingPeaks 201. My goal was to gain a deeper understanding of how to use TrainingPeaks software. I am thankful that my Lupus Racing Team teammate Oliver Flautt kindly let me occupy his bedroom and borrow his car for the 4 days I was out there.

Day one of TrainingPeaks University began with a delicious breakfast of sausages, granola, yogurt, fruit, orange juice, and coffee. This was the measuring stick TrainingPeaks started with for the food, and it only got better from there. Dirk Friel and Gear Fisher began the class by talking about how  TrainingPeaks was born and how they operate as a company. Dave Schell introduced us to the TrainingPeaks software. I have been using TrainingPeaks as an athlete for about 9 years now and as a coach for three years, so I was a little skeptical that I would learn much more about the product. Dave showed us some nice ways to view the workout calendar, group athletes and workouts, and some other cool features of the online software. He also showed us some ways to analyze data within the TraininPeaks website. I was not aware that a file could be analyzed so deeply on the website because I have always used TrainingPeaks WKO products (the most robust desktop software for analyzing power files) to analyze power files. I was impressed with the features available to analyze power files on

We took a break for lunch that once again included high quality food like salad, chicken, and polenta pumpkin cheesecake. Then the legend Joe Friel took over and spoke about metrics like functional threshold power, normalized power, variability index, and intensity factor. All of these metrics go into calculating training stress score for a workout or race. The training stress score for many workouts helps to make a chart called the performance manager chart. The performance manager chart can be used to monitor athletes' training and to help athletes arrive to goal events in peak fitness. TrainingPeaks 101 concluded with Dave Schell giving a presentation about the new WKO4 software.

Joe Friel opened up TrainingPeaks 201 by talking about a new way to make workouts specific to races. His new method uses TSS and IF to calculate workout duration which is a much more pragmatic approach than creating workouts based on duration alone. Joe also gave more specifics on the performance management chart. He gave us some goal metrics to look for during each period of work depending on the time of season for the athlete.

For lunch on the final day we had pork tacos, polenta cakes, and salad. No dessert on the last day? Was TrainingPeaks trying to tell me something? For the final part of the class Tim Cusick presented WKO4 software. He talked about how some athletes are outliers that do not fit into the bell curve. WKO4 can help coaches address these outliers by giving them tools to assess how quickly an athlete adapts to different training prescriptions. The coach can then decide on an individual approach for each athlete. Finally the legendary Dean Golich presented us with the idea that we need to question everything. We each need to make our own individual way of coaching. We should't just accept certain methods as the only way, and we should develop our own methods. That way new ideas can be developed, and the methods we use to train athletes can progress even further. He then showed us the charts he uses and how he analyzes power files in WKO4 software.

A plethora of pertinent topics were discussed at TrainingPeaks University by leaders and innovators in the world of endurance coaching. I came away with many new ideas I am going to employ in my own coaching method. TrainingPeaks knows how to put on a super event with great food and some of the best presenters available. I would highly encourage anyone seeking to learn more about endurance training to attend TrainingPeaks University. I may even attend the same class again just for the great food. I have no more coaching education events on the horizon for myself. Now it is time to resume training to go smash 2016. Thanks again to Oliver for letting me crash at his apartment.